Vinnie R’s in Navarre — that has a nice ring to it. What is even nicer is the great Italian food they serve. Out and About Pensacola took full advantage of this restaurant on a lazy Saturday afternoon during Fourth of July weekend.
Vinnie R’s was founded in Newnan, Georgia under the name C&D Pizzeria. In 2005, Vinnie R’s opened in Navarre, is the oldest restaurant in the area and has been a big part of the community. While you are there you can see photographic evidence of their participation in local youth sports teams.
After you park in their ample parking lot and walk to the door, you are pleasantly greeted by planters full of fresh herbs, which you can tell are used in the cooking. That is a good sign already. The next good sign is literally, a sign, that tells you all about the daily, weekend and in menu specials. All sounding so appealing.
The staff is extremely welcoming and show you to your table quickly. The time of day that we went there was a sparse crowd, but people quickly filed in with large groups, families of 6 or more. There are a variety of tables and booths available to accommodate any size party.
Inside there is a notably Italian style décor with flags from Italy and the United States, grape vines, cans of tomato sauce, and frogs and….wait, what, frogs? We figured there must be a great story about how the frogs represent something significant, when we inquired we found out the owner just likes frogs.
So when in an Italian restaurant, do as Italians do, order some unique appetizers and pasta and linger over your food experience. We tried the lobster and shrimp stuffed mushrooms; warm water lobster and shrimp stuffing in silver dollar button mushrooms and oven roasted in a garlic butter sauce.
The stuffed mushrooms were tasty, hot and plentiful.
Next we ordered entrées and those came with salads. The house dressing a thick creamy Italian, that is dense and peppery. The salad was comprised of romaine lettuce, green pepper, tomato and olives both green and black.
The lobster and shrimp a la trattoria consists of butterfly shrimp, topped with lobster, dusted with cracked black pepper and sea salt. It is then baked in white wine and garlic butter sauce. All of that is atop linguini and Alfredo sauce.
The pasta was a perfect al dente, the shrimp with lobster was fresh and cooked perfectly. Alfredo sauce was tasty without being too heavy.
We also ordered the Mr. Vinnie’s baked ziti, a signature dish that our server gets on her shift meal. That is an important tip; instead of asking what is good that day, ask what your server gets when she or he gets their shift meal. I think you get a better recommendation.
The baked ziti was heavy with cheese on top, a homemade sweet marinara sauce and baked off in the oven. Very tasty. It came with two medium sized breadsticks.
You cannot leave an Italian restaurant without having dessert, and Vinnie R’s was no exception. We tried the caramel, sea salt Gelato. Very nice finish for the meal.
While we were there another table ordered two very large pizzas that looked spectacular. Great looking crust and loaded with their chosen ingredients. We will have to try one of those next time.
Vinnie R’s offers a plethora of specials from weekend specials, Monday-Thursday values, military discounts, lunch specials, all you can eat pasta, carry out specials and more.
Oh, and pick up one of their business cards and use it to get a free order of garlic cheese bread.